Monday, 20 February 2017

Caress Your Skin With All Natural Aroma Essentials Products

Natural and Organic products have finally made a place in our lives. While some are still trying to give chemicals a miss and make a transition to non-toxic skin care essentials, I've already soaked myself into the sea of all natural products inspired from nature.
After bearing the cold winter winds, its the time to welcome summer soon. The changing weather brings a different set of challenges for our skin. As the skin issues are some times unavoidable, we can make it possible to reduce the damage by choosing the good quality products for enhanced benefit.
In today's post, I'm featuring some of the iconic products from Aroma Essentials, a well-known name for purest, handmade skin care and body care range. The products are AHA Scrub, AHA Mask and Orange Cinnamon Body Butter.
I've been using Aha body polishing scrub since a few months and the product gave real results. After every use, I was fallen in love with its fragrance more and more. So decided to stock an extra pack as soon as I finished the previous one. The AHA scrub is infused with Tamarind Powder, Brown Sugar and Olive Oil. The thick textured, chocolaty coloured scrub is easy to apply on damp skin without need of diluting it. I bet you will fall in love with its tempting fragrance. When I used the scrub in previous batch, I suggested the brand owner Madhurima to make it more moisturizing and woah! the new pack came with needful of improvement by adding to its skin hydrating capability. The scrub successfully sloughs off the dead skin even from the roughest parts of body without being harsh. The best part is that it suits all skin types and is appropriate to use in any season.

To double up the benefits of Aha scrub, there is Aha Mask that helps to bring out natural glow on skin while making baby soft. The mask is somewhat on drier texture, so it needs to be diluted so that a thin layer can be evenly spread on the skin. The mask can be applied on any type of skin by adjusting the medium in which you mix it up. For dry skin like mine, milk can be added to the mask to make a smooth paste and for oily/combination skin, rose water or yogurt are best to mix the mask with. I didn't feel any irritation on skin when the mask is on. Keep the mask on skin for 10 minutes or so, and wash the skin with plain water. The powerful ingredients of the mask namely Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Citric Acid and Tartaric Acid are obtained from food products, hence are pure and harmless. The application of mask on a regular basis promises rejuvenated and purified skin while minimizing the effect of environmental stressors.

Before I share my experience with other products, let us be clearly informed that this scrub and mask are AHA based. AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy Acids basically are the acids that originate from milk and fruit sugars. They penetrate the skin very well and help skin look younger with continuous use of months. It's the reason that they are often used in skin care products.

Another product that I loved using on my skin is the Orange and Cinnamon Body Butter that restores moisture on skin. There is no specific usage instructions or frequency to use the body butter. One can enjoy a massage with this delectable, deep hydration body butter as and when needed. It's a boon for dry skin to gain instant nourishment and relaxation from itchy skin in a jiffy.  The body butter is quite thick in consistency, but easily melts at body temperature when rubbed on skin. The skin absorbs it really quick and it didn't feel extremely greasy as I had expected it to be. The Cinnamon is said to be a good antiseptic, so works as a remedy for minor skin issues too.

I recommend everyone to stay away from chemical laden skin care products with questionable ingredients and give AE products a try for surprising qualities and benefits for problem-free skin.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Natural Skincare Indulgence From Ecotique - Review

Hi everyone

I take pleasure introducing a new name on my blog that has given me an opportunity to explore their selection of natural bath and body products...

Brand Preamble: 
Ecotique is a personal care brand that combines the ancient Indian tradition of Ayurveda with its holistic approach to daily life and Aromatherapy with its mood enhancing benefits derived from the use of essential oils. The brand has brought together the best natural actives to make truly effective products and take great care to maximize the “naturalness” of the product such that the entire formulation is largely made of Ecocert certified ingredients. Ecotique aims to demystify the healing philosophies to create products that simplify personal care for today’s modern world. Our products are easy to use and are efficacious, and show desired results in a minimal amount of time.

I didn't choose the products myself, but was sent a few of the products by the brand on the basis of my skin type as I trusted they have best of knowledge to decide what ingredients would be beneficial for different skin types. And here is what I got -
Ylang Ylang & Patchouli Indulgence Soap
People have been talking these days on preferring body washes over bathing bars. I may be an exception, but I still love using traditional soaps for a satisfying shower experience. I'm a sucker of natural soaps and have used various handmade soaps from numerous brands. Every time I come across a new one, my love for these soaps only gets inflated.
So the first product that I'm raving about in this post is Ecotique Ylang Ylang & Patchouli Indulgence Soap.
This dual-coloured soap is a mild formula to cleanse dry/sensitive skin without aggravating skin issues. The soap lathers moderately, but assures your body to be actually 'clean' off dirt, and every type of residue with its soft, creamy lather.
My normally dry skin doesn't feel stretchy or stripped after bath. The exotic Patchouli fragrance of the soap has amazing calming effect on mind and offers a wholesome bathing experience, while Ylang Ylang promotes mental well being.
Price: Rs 349 for 100 gm.
Coconut and Green Tea Scrub is the most gentle scrub I've ever used. The scrub aims at rejuvenating and energizing the tired, dull skin. Coconut is said to have youth enhancing and glow encouraging properties for skin which is mixed with Green Tea that helps fight free radicals. Jaggery and Honey help to increase collagen so that your skin replenish its lost moisture in no time!
The scrub is packed in a tiny glass tub which is housed in a cardboard box with detailed information printed on it. The scrub itself has green colored granules that do not completely dissolve on rubbing over skin. As you continue massaging the scrub, it releases oil to render intense hydration to skin and gives relieve from itchy dryness instantly.
The texture of the scrub is similar to that of shredded coconut which is velvety soft during massage and devoid of any harsh feeling. I feel, it would be suitable for sensitive skin as well, but might not be a good choice for Oily skin type. Generally, I need to moisturize my skin generously after using any scrub because the skin feels stretchy; but the rich coconut oil in this scrub not only makes the product smell delicious but also serves the dual purpose of an exfoliator plus moisturizer for me.
This scrub has most amazing list of natural ingredients that won't cause you any allergic reaction and cleanse your skin off all kind of dirt, dust and dead skin cells on the skin's top surface. This scrub is so mild to be used on alternate day, though the best practice that I follow is to use it once a week.
Price: ₹ 599 for 30 gm
Saffron Body Oil
I'm fondly devoted to oils, be it for body massage or head massage. The body oils are extremely important for good health of my dry skin. I received one of the best-seller oil from Ecotique i.e. Saffron Oil.
This oil is not a heavy concoction that may be hard to sink in the skin. It absorbs quickly and hydrates my dry, flaky skin instantly without staining my clothes or leaving my skin greasy. I loved its soft and fresh scent that doesn't bother my sensitive nose and is very pleasant to senses. The oil does more than moisturizing the skin, it tones the skin and imparts a desired glow with prolong use.
The oil enriched with pure Himalayan Saffron has active antioxidants to fight signs of ageing and reduce blemish. The oil is a blissful remedy to cure skin issues arising due to weather change. The aroma of the oil is so relaxing that I apply few drops of oil on my temples when I need to loosen up myself in tranquility after a tiring day.
Overall, I totally like to enjoy that feeling of suppleness on skin all the day long after a gentle body massage of Saffron oil post shower.
Price: ₹ 349 for 30 gm

Pros:
Made of richest ingredients obtained from nature.
Vegan and cruelty free products.
Mood uplifting products. 
Perfect blend of Aromatherapy essential oils.
No use of sulfates, parabens, artificial fragrances, phthalates, silicone, glycol and harmful preservatives. 

Cons:
Bit expensive.

All the products that I used from the house of Ecotique left me infatuated with the brand, specially the Coconut & Green Tea Scrub ;) I'm incredibly satisfied with the quality of products and would recommend you all to give these products a try for sure. 

Which of these Ecotique products you are excited to try? Do let us know.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Oriflame Pure Colour Nail Polish Mini - Review, Swatches, NOTD

"Glossy, high-shine nail polish in a huge range of exciting shades. Gorgeous finish, fantastic colours – and what’s more it’s unbelievable value! Why not try them all?"

When I read above lines about in the Oriflame catalogue, I ordered the entire range in the Pure Colour Nail Polish Mini. Since the shades genuinely tempted me a lot and priced reasonable i.e. just Rs 189 for 6 ml. (buy here)

And then arrived my boxful of nail paints... you ask "how many??" 15 shades :) 
Yes! Yes! the Oriflame Pure Colour Nail Polish Mini range offers 15 beautiful shades namely  Trendy Nude, Pink Crush, Hot Fuschia, Classic Red, Coral Red, Bronze Brown, Mauve Mirage, Midnight Blue, Burgundy Wine, Marine Blue, Serene Green, Intense Pink, Ruby Pink, Peach Pink, Coral Orange.
All the nail paints are contained in tiny glass bottles with black cap. The applicator brush is broad enough to apply nail color in two straight swipes easily. The shade name and number is printed on the label underneath the bottle. The texture of nail paint is not very thick and makes it easy to spread comfortably on nails. I always like the intensity of colour after two coats that gives the perfect opacity. The best part is that it takes bare minimum time to dry up on nails and settle to a pretty glossy finish on nails. Absolutely a relief to restless girls like me :P

Talking about staying power, this range of nail paints are much reliable as they brighten up your hands without losing its shine for good 4-5 days without chipping off. And yes, I'm not using any top coat to lengthen its longevity. Also its pretty easy to rub out the nail color with any liquid nail-paint remover or wipes. 

The Pure Color Mini range comprises of shades which are a mix of bright as well as sober ones. There is one for every mood and for every occasion i.e. Red, Green, Blue and everything in between. One can choose to apply contrasting or matching shades to their outfit or can just choose to be one-of-its kind trendy by creating a quirky nail art with mix-n-match of shades. 

While trying out this range of nail paints in past few weeks, I developed an inclination towards nude, natural shades and I'm loving those more than deep/dark shades ;)  The nail paints have beautiful glossy shine minus any extra dose of glittery shimmer.

Let's have a look at the swatches now... 
Bronze Brown

Midnight Blue

Pink Crush
Marine Blue

Trendy Nude
Ruby Pink
Serene Green
Coral Red

Hot Fuschia

Intense Pink

Classic Red

Peach Pink

Coral Orange
Burgundy Wine
Of all the shades, I loved Bronze Brown, Marine Blue, Serene Green and Peach Pink the most :)
Do you like Oriflame Pure Colour Nail Polish Mini? What’s your favourite shade? Let me know in a comments below :)

Friday, 10 February 2017

Beauty Benefits of Oiling n Massaging ft. Svayam Natural

Oils have been highly prized amongst the best sources of healing due to their multitude of benefits since ages. Our body responds to oil massage extremely well and if you may lay your hands on pure oils extracted from natural ingredients, you're sure to take the power of massage to a whole new level. One may prefer taking help from professional therapists or indulge in a sensual massage by the partner. I personally am a true believer in the magic of a relaxing massage.

Recently, I discovered a conscious wellness brand Svayam Natural specializing in 100% natural, premium handcrafted products while I was looking for therapeutic oils for myself. On contacting the lady behind the brand, she promptly agreed to send me the products I wanted. Since I had a concept in my mind to cover Oil Massage, I chose a few oils having elite combination of high quality ingredients.
I've been using these oils for few weeks now, and I'm ready to opine what I felt.

For Face:
Usually we see people using good facial skin care products available at different cosmetic counters. I mostly prefer thick moisturizers on my face as my skin remains persistently dry and flaky plus gets dehydrated easily. So this time I ditched the lotions and creams, and added Apricot Face Serum with Almond Oil & Patchouli to my face care routine. 
Despite its name, this serum is basically a face oil that prominently smells of almonds and I like it. Most face oils can be used on their own or mixed with other oils in a blend that best suits ones skin needs. But Svayam Natural has taken a step forward to prepare a facial oil with beneficial blend of Apricot Oil, Almond Oil and Patchouli that I use directly to massage on my face. 
The base Apricot oil is a light textured by default, so doesn't feel heavy or sticky on skin. My skin drinks it up in no time without showing a greasy coat on face. The ingredients of this oil make it a rich source of replenishing emollients, so it keeps my skin's hydration locked-in for many hours. The oil possesses great skin-smoothing properties that soothes and tones the facial skin gently. In past weeks, I can see a beautiful difference on my skin. Without a doubt, Apricot Face Serum with Almond Oil & Patchouli is an integral part of my skincare routine now.

Price: Rs. 525 for 100 ml (can be ordered from Amazon, Flipkart, ShopClues, Snapdeal etc)

For Body:
Bath oils made with nourishing ingredients have been one of my prime bath and body products since long. So trying one more from Svayam Naturals was simply unavoidable for me. I chose to use Sesame Oil with Jasmine & Rosemary. 
I like the fact that the bath oils can be used in different ways. Some prefer using it for a pre-shower massage and other like to massage during bath. Even a few drops of the oil can be added to the bathing water for a gentle soak to get rid of skin dryness. But the optimal way is to give your 'wet' skin a soothing massage. This oil has deliciously energizing fragrance that calms my stressed mind. 
The bath oil enhanced with Almond Oil, Jasmine & Rosemary along with Sesame Oil has properties to help fight blemishes and keep your skin clear. 
The oil is slightly thicker in texture than face serum, and proves idea to deal with skin conditions. I loved how the brand has packed the oil with aromatic dried rosemary herb strands for a punch of deliciousness. 
A warm water bath after the massage leaves my skin supple and nourished. Incorporating the bath oils in your everyday routine enables our body become more immune to fight various bacterial and viral infections as well. Most bath oils are warm by nature, so they improve blood circulation. I truly enjoy a massage with lukewarm oil to fight fatigue and stiffness of joints after a long work day during my night time bath that instantly uplifts my mood plus aids in sound sleep. To me, bath oils go beyond just a massage but are a therapy that practically works on my body and mind.
Price: Rs. 415 for 100 ml. (can be ordered from Amazon, Flipkart, ShopClues, Snapdeal etc)
Overall, I believe that oiling is something that lets you experience a higher quality of life and improves our emotional and physical well-being. For today's fast paced life, it's a natural and blissful way that one can effectively avail healthy skin.

Do let me know your views if you find the post informative. I'm planning to compile some facts on hair oils in my next posts.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Why I Decided To Take My Baby Outdoors Before He Turned One, Never Mind What Anyone Said

Every new mommy receives a fair dose of unsolicited advice from well-intentioned family members. Even from strangers. This starts while she is still in the process of learning and understanding the needs of her newborn baby. It can get really annoying at times, particularly when the rookie mom has to pretend to follow that advice in an attempt at keeping her loved ones unhurt. Moreover – and this is even worse – when people unknowingly induce anxiety in a mommy’s mind, she faces a huge dilemma of whether to follow societal traditions or her own instinct. When I travel down memory lane, I recall the time when I also went through this situation. My baby and I were sequestered inside our house for many weeks – and I was helpless about it.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Kylin Experience (Chandigarh) : Restaurant Review

Winter Mornings, Warm Sun and Weekends. Isn't it an awesome blend? And if you get to spoil yourself with a dine-out opportunity on a lazy Sunday, your day is made.

The last weekend, I got an invite to review The Kylin Experience, Chandigarh that is recognized as one of the finest restaurant for multi-cuisine dining. 

Location:
Kylin is located at the third floor of Elante Mall, Chandigarh which happens to be the most sought after hang out places of 'The City Beautiful'. Elante Mall is the second largest mall of Northern India and it's top floor boasts of a spacious food court, an amazing courtyard full of cafes, food joints and restaurants. And here is where Kylin welcomes you proudly with an easily accessible locus. It is quite trouble-free to reach the restaurant.
Ambiance:
The interior of the restaurant is aesthetically designed with exposed red bricks on the walls all over. The walls have got gracefully implanted geometric frames decorated with tiny colourful plants in them which pleases the senses. The restaurant entrance flanked by an alluring Budhha statue kept at a rack marks holiness at the place. 

Critical to any restaurant, whether it is casual, sophisticated, rustic or modern, is Lighting. At Kylin, the entire space is sufficiently lit with assortment of multi-coloured pendant lights hung on the ceiling to spread omni-directional glare. Not only the lights are functional to the purpose, but create an intimate ambiance to impress you enough for a return.
One can notice the extra efforts put to combine iron-grill panels behind with colored lights to pull off a richer texture and color.

Seating:
At Kylin, the seating layout emphasizes on the comfort to add to the diner's experience. They have variety of seating options within the allocated area. You may choose to enjoy wall-side comfy seating with wooden partition fixtures between tables or occupy center seats which are space-efficient and encourage conversation during dining.  

The line between a restaurant and bar is getting harder to parse these days, so Kylin presents an exclusive high-rise bar-stools arrangement for its bar area on one side of restaurant. The spectacular bar features a great display where one can indulge in watching the bartenders crafting a perfect drink for you. The bar area is well-managed to introduce dramatic lighting from behind the premium liquor bottles to manifest the pop lighting effect.

Food & Service:
Talking about the foodies delight now; I had been invited to taste and review the newly introduced Winter Special menu at Kylin that offers an incredible mix of Soup Meals and Sizzlers.  

The cuisine offered at Kylin is an amalgamation of Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Burmese, and Asian, so they guarantee you to offer delicacies beyond the monotonous.

Before I could begin my food tasting session, I informed the Kylin staff about my Vegetarian preference. An usual kind of menu with a wooden base arrived at my table and the head chef himself came to greet and guide me about his dishes. The experienced and friendly chef gave me utmost information about the preparation and ingredients gone into every dish. 

For the starters, the small bite-sized portions of Dim sums arrived in cute bamboo basket having Mushroom & Bok Choy,  Broccolli & Almond and Tofu & Vegetables variants. The flavour of each filling could be felt in every bite as the aptly steamed, nearly transparent dim sums melted in my mouth.
I demanded my all time favourite Mojito on being asked for drinks, while my son who accompanied me to the venue, got to sip a specially made mocktail by the chef. We opted for refreshing yet non-alcoholic versions, ofcourse.

Moving to the main offerings in the winter menu, we were served these soup meals -
Asparagus & lotus Stem With Dumplings, is a clear broth with vegetables, mushrooms, star anise and rice noodles in it. 

Thukpa, is a yellow coloured Tibetan soup with tangy taste with loads of veggies, baby corns and noodles in it. People who enjoy non-vegetarian food can get the veggies substituted with chicken in their Thukpa. 
Now this one had been a beautiful presentation indeed. The family-sized serving of this soup is named as Steam Boat. Resembling to a real one, it's one of  the finest offering in the menu. There are options to customize the  soup with choicest veggies, chicken or sea food as per own liking. You can even enhance the flavours using the variety of condiments served with the dish.
There is no tampering done with the ingredients to bring out authentic flavours of dishes so that they may represent the cuisine they actually belong to.
So we slurped and spooned our way through the restaurant’s finest 'meals in a bowl'. I recommend these soup meals especially to those who prefer a quick lunch and avoid heavy fried food. These soup meals are generously seasoned and don't push you to compromise in either taste or health, rather you feel 'full' and 'content' after finishing one bowl.

For a complete Kylin Experience, we were served delicious Sizzlers in the second phase-
Chilli Paneer With Hakka Noodles, is a full meal prepared with paneer and capsicum with gravy made of combination of vinegar and oriental sauces. It was truly the tastiest accompaniment to the noodles. The deep fried baby potatoes and crunchy bell-pepper in the platter tasted yummilicious.  
Another flavourful sizzler variant came all decked up with bowlful of veggies and a huge spring roll sleeping over a bed of hakka noodles and it's named as Exotic Veggies in Ginger Chilli With Hakka Noodles.  

I'm usually a more-n-more veggies kind of person who loves to munch veggies really fondly. With many slices of baby corns in the dish, I simply devoured this dish to my heart content.
The sizzlers menu at Kylin also offers variety of non-vegetarian delicacies like Chilli Chicken With Veg Fried Rice and Duck in Orange Liquor Sauce With Flat Noodles. 

The chef insisted on tasting his signature dish i.e. Kylin Special Sushi and my son was absolutely delighted to know that chef had a Veg Sushi Platter on his menu for us. Though the attention paid by the staff towards minute details was especially apparent in the presentation and quality of every dish, the Sushi platter instantaneously won our appreciation. 
The tiny dipping bowl were filled with soy sauce and dipping a piece of sushi into soy actually improved the flavour of vinegered rice with a bit of savouriness

Concluding the fine dining experience at Kylin with desserts was amazing. The chef presented a trio of homemade icecreams in basil, star anise and coconut flavours which made for an even better dining experience. 
I couldn't leave without admiring fast paced service by staff throughout. The service scores full marks for friendly, quick and accommodating experience.
On a cue, The Kylin Experience absorbs the grandeur of the city for being one of best place for casual dining and a must-visit restaurant for lovers of multi-cuisine food.  When you visit the place, don't forget to glance at this corner where the extensive awards won by the restaurant are exhibited with pride.
Timing: 11 am to 11:30 pm
Contact Info: 0172-4012542
Other Branches: Delhi & Gurgaon.
Cost: Rs. 1200/- to 1500/- for two persons.

I rate the location, food, service, hospitality and pricing of Kylin, a perfect 5/5.

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